A ROW has broken out after a red postbox was plonked – without warning, it is claimed – on the pavement outside a newsagent’s shop in Newtown St Boswells last week, writes Mark Entwistle.
Friday’s appearance of the postbox outside his shop in the centre of the village was brought to TheSouthern’s attention by an angry Eoin Frame.
“The Royal Mail is supposed to consult with the public before doing this sort of thing,” an irate Mr Frame said this week.
Mr Frame was Newtown’s sub-postmaster before a dispute with Post Office bosses saw the facility transferred to within the nearby Scottish Borders Council headquarters.
He added: “Apart from that, another main issue is that on Tuesday morning, between 12 and 15 wheelie bins will appear on this stretch of pavement outside of my shop. This postbox will be right in the way, so I expect a bit of chaos to be caused because of this.
“We had heard that a new postbox was going to be located in Station Court, outside the Co-op, but they seem to have changed their minds without letting anyone know. The postbox is also only going to be opened for collection once a day. This is absolutely shocking treatment of the Newtown community by the Royal Mail.”
Local community council secretary Roger French checked out the positioning of the new postbox on Tuesday and spoke to Mr Frame about his concerns.
Mr French said: “I agree with him that if the Royal Mail had spoken to us beforehand, a better positioning could have been found, but I think that now that it is concreted in position we will have to give it a try.
“I also understand that the original three collections have been reduced to a single collection at 1pm, and anything later than that will need to be taken to Melrose Post Office three miles away.
“What about the elderly or people without cars who need to post an urgent letter after 1pm?”
He added: “However, I think the main point here is that agencies like Royal Mail, Post Office, local council, Scottish Water, etc. regularly choose to decide on these things themselves, irrespective what the living community in the village wants.
“It is somewhat ironic that we hear a lot at government level about localism, community involvement, big society, etc., but at the coalface nothing changes and local people are often the last to be told about things that affect them.”
Mr French said the community council’s main role to effectively pass on the views of local residents to outside agencies such as the Royal Mail relies on the information being communicated to the community council in the first place.
“It is the easiest thing to do to find the village community council contact by simply typing in the words ‘community council’ in the local council website,” he added.
There was no official Royal Mail reaction by the time we went to press yesterday afternoon.